NEW YORK - Visitors to New Jersey' state and county parks were on their best behavior this weekend, according to Gov. Phil Murphy, who rescinded an executive order issued three weeks ago that had shut down the parks to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) through social contact.
Murphy was interviewed Sunday morning by Chris Wallace on Fox News.
"Compliance was very high in terms of social distancing," Murphy said. "That sort of behavior as we flatten the curve… as we push those curves down… that’s the best weapon we’ve got to get the best outcome,” he added.
Eight state parks, including the Delaware & Raritan Canal Greenway in Somerset County, were closed by park rangers by mid-day Saturday because the park had reached capacity.
Somerset County parks were also open this weekend, as well as the five golf courses operated by the Somerset County Park Commission.
Somerset County Freeholder Brian Gallagher drove from his home in Somerville to the Sourland Mountain Preserve Sunday and posted on Facebook:
"Took a 4-mile hike in the Sourlands this morning...beautiful! Plenty of open space, people genuinely happy to be outdoors, greeting each other happily on the trails, and understanding each other’s space.
"We have one of the best Park Systems in the country...not by chance, but through leadership and vision over many years.
So whether you feel like a run, a hike, a stroll, fishing, biking, and the list goes on...you can find it in one of our Parks!
The Somerset County Park Commission...that’s our Somerset County!"
Gallagher, his wife and daughter arrived around 8:30 a.m. and there were already 30 cars in the parking lot. Two park rangers were on duty.
"It was phenomenal," Gallagher said. "It was great to be out of the house and doing a little bit of exercise, and the attitude of the people was wonderful, lots of smiles, lots of good mornings, how are yous and people were respectful of each others' space and gave a wide berth when passing one another," he added.
Murphy will provide a parks' update at his daily press briefing Monday, at which time he is also expected to announce a decision on whether schools across New Jersey will be allowed to re-open or remain closed, as they have been since March 18.